60-Seconds 309 : Is the news really news?

by Fred Showker

Fred likes today news -- as clear as mud What do you think about the news? As graphic designers we can be terribly influenced by the news -- or not. How do we digest the deluge of news into thought patterns that contribute to our design creativity in a positive way? Or do we just absorb it all? Does the news shape your life? Are you fed up with it? Do you think it's biased or fed to you through colored filters and glass? Should graphic design reflect the news? No? Yes? Today's article on Tom Ashbrook's "On Point" -- the NPR opinion radio show -- was thought provoking and enlightening. Best of all, for me, Tom came up against a guest who he could not contaminate! BRAVO!

I have a love/hate relationship with Tom Ashbrook and his radio show on NPR. Sometimes I drop everything and listen intensely. I've never called in -- probably a good thing -- but at times I'm amazed at what Tom can get away with on NPR. I rallied at today's article featuring guest author Alain de Botton who has quite taken the news media to task with his new book "The News: A User’s Manual"!

Alain de Botton is a philosopher, essayist and documentary producer. He makes some really intelligent observations and discoveries about the news that we've all felt all along, but just could not express. And he was undaunted by Ashbrook's incessent attempts to discredit Botton's views. Ashbrook launches in :

Quoting Tom Ashbrook begins The news is everywhere. The news is too much. The news is not serious enough, not factual enough, not contextual enough. Everybody has an opinion about the news. Fox News, celebrity news, lame-stream media. Quoting  ends

But a commenter comments

Quoting  begins News is a consumable product. That's why it's called news. It's not called facts, or event reportage. Alain's perspective is terribly important! Quoting  ends

But what's your view and opinion of the news? I watch the evening news and wonder why they've turned the weather into news rather than telling us what's really going on in the world. The BBC is supposedly the most unbias news media in the world. How do you like your news?

The daily Beast says:

Quoting  begins When we complain about news coverage being biased, slanted, or flawed in some way, what we’re usually saying is that it fails to do justice to our own preferred view of the world; it’s unspoken assumptions are different from our own. Quoting  ends

Peter Preston reviews de Botton's book for the Observer and says :

Quoting Peter Preston begins The anxious question journalists ask themselves every morning seems simple enough, but is often devilishly difficult: What is newsworthy? (And where the hell can I find enough of it to fill page one?) Alain de Botton, staging yet another of his philosophical firework displays, asks a rather different question. Here is a construct he calls The News. What is it, and does obsessing over it do us any good? Quoting Peter Preston ends

Alain de Botton writes in his op-ed for the Huffington Post :

Quoting  begins The problem with facts is that there is nowadays no shortage of reliable examples. The issue is not that we need more of them, but that we don't know what to do with the ones we have. Every news day unleashes another flood . . . But what do these things actually mean? How are they related to the central questions of political life? What can they help us to understand? Quoting  ends

At the risk of repeating myself . . . what's your take on this? You're free to email, or comment below!
... and, thanks for reading

Fred Showker

Here . . . watch this : (after the ad, of course)

Further Reading:

GO cover The News: A User's Manual by Alain De Botton audio, Kindle
GO Tom Ashbrook's "On Point"
GO The Daily Beast : What is the News? Whatever Alain de Botton Thinks
GO Peter Preston : The News: A User's Manual by Alain de Botton
GO Alain de Botton writes: The Difficulties of Consuming News


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